Artazu, a project from the same producer of Artadi, Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle, strives for great quality Grenache. In Navarra, Juan discovered mind-blowing old vineyards and allowed them to fully express their potential for depth and personality at Artazu. The winery and vineyards are located in the most northern zone of Navarra at an altitude ranging from 400 to 600 meters.
Artazu's top wine is called "Santa Cruz". It is produced from mostly 100+ year old hillside vineyards of Grenache. The winery also produces a line of wines with the name Artazuri that is made from slightly younger vines. These represent tremendous value.
Learn More About Grenache
This sun-worshiping grape gets ripe and loves hot, dry weather. Popular in
(called Garnacha), Australia and the southern
Rhone region of France, Grenache
is the primary grape in regions such as
It's often tamed by less fleshy, more structured grapes like
- Grenache is the "G" in GSM blends of Australia. Also, because of its thin
skins and high ripeness level, Grenache is ideal for producing delicious yet
dry rose wines.
High sugars give this grape character and ensure a full-bodied wine, but lower
levels of acid and tannin enhance its candidacy as a blender. Intensive pruning
on older vines gives Grenache enough structure to maintain its balance as a sole
varietal, which is popular - and successful - in California, Australia and sometimes
Spain, but many vintners rely on blending to keep this alcohol-happy grape in
check. Typical flavors of Grenache are jam, spice, dried fruit, earthiness and some
pepper, depending on where it's grown. Old vine Grenache makes an intense and distinct dry wine, and in regions
like Banyuls, a delicious, fortified dessert wine.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Southern Rhone, Southwest Spain, Australia, California
jammy, alcoholic, spice, black currant, dried red and black fruits, pepper, earth, fleshy
Learn More About Rioja, Spain
This highly regarded area of Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
The Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.